The St. Louis woman seen in a viral video attempting to block her Black neighbor from entering their apartment building is sharing her side of the story after being dubbed a “racist” and receiving death threats.
“That’s false and heartbreaking,” Hilary Thornton told FOX 2 Now. “Those are words that cut deep.”
The incident unfolded last Friday when Thornton says neighbor D’Arreion Toles did not have a key fob to get inside the Elder Shirt Loft apartments and tried forcing his way in as she let her dog out to use the bathroom. She said didn’t recognize Toles and refused to let him into the building, as instructed.
“When I noticed an individual I didn’t know here, my only thought was to follow directions I had been given by condo association board members repeatedly; and that is to never allow access to anyone that you don’t know,” Thornton told the station.
“I simply asked if he lived there because the direction from the association is … that if you don’t know the person, you don’t let them in,” she added.
Video from the incident, taken by Toles, shows Thornton repeatedly demanding to know which apartment he lived in. The businessman told KMOV he was returning home from a late night at the office when Thornton confronted him, then proceeded to block him from getting to his fourth floor loft.
“I don’t need to tell you that information,” Toles replies to the stranger’s repeated inquiries. “I live here and you are blocking the door.”
“This is my building,” Thornton says as she stands at the entrance, refusing to let Toles pass. “All I am asking is what unit … This is my building.”
That’s when Thornton says Toles pushed past her, forcing his way into the building after a brief scuffle at the door. That part wasn’t caught on camera, however.
“…Because the camera was pointed at the ground and that’s when you hear me say, ‘Oh my God, are you serious?’ and that’s when he says, ‘Go ahead, call police,’” she recalled.
Thornton argued that if the man had a key, he could’ve used it to get inside and wouldn’t need to be let in.
Thornton then followed Toles all the way up to his apartment only to realize he had keys to open the door. It wasn’t long before her employer, Tribeca STL, caught wind of the “disturbing” interaction and fired Thornton for racial profiling. The company does not own the property where the incident occurred.
“After a review of the matter the employee has been terminated and is no longer with our Company,” the property management firm said in a statement. “At Tribeca-STL we want all residents, guests and visitors to feel welcome, safe and respected.”
Thornton, who is married to a Black man, told FOX 2 Now she wouldn’t change anything about her actions that night.
“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” she said.
Watch more in the video below.